Spacex’s Starship May Land People On Moon. Its First Mission?

Spacex’s Starship Spacecraft One Day May Boldly Take Humans To Where They’ve Never Gone Before, But Right Now It’s Exploding.

By Alex Soderstrom 

Spacex’s Starship Spacecraft One Day May Boldly Take Humans To Where They’ve Never Gone Before, But Right Now It’s Exploding During Test Flights. The Hawthorne, California-based rocket company plans to conduct a test flight of Starship in Boca Chica, Texas, this week. The flight follows two test flights in February and December that, while considered successes by SpaceX, ended in explosions.

The test will happen more than 1,300 miles away in the Lone Star State, but Starship is poised to become a crucial part of Brevard County’s space industry. Space operations by SpaceX and others are important because they create local jobs, such as the nearly 50 open local positions on SpaceX’s website. The aerospace/aviation industry employs more than 15,000 people in Central Florida, paying an average salary of $95,831, according to the Florida High Tech Corridor.

Here are three ways the perfection of Starship would boost space activity originating from Florida:

  • To the moon: NASA in April awarded SpaceX a $135 million contract to develop a human landing system to put astronauts on the moon. SpaceX’s proposed method is to use Starship to transport astronauts between the Gateway, a mini space station, and the lunar surface. The federal space agency plans to return to the moon this decade as part of Artemis, a series of missions to the moon that will launch from Cape Canaveral. SpaceX is one of three companies that won a NASA contract for the human landing system, along with Kent, Washington-based Blue Origin and Huntsville, Alabama-based Dynetics.
  • Eyes on Mars: Neither NASA nor SpaceX CEO Elon Musk plans to stop at the moon. NASA plans to use trips to the moon as a stepping stone to a human Mars mission by the 2030s. SpaceX’s website is explicit that Starship is designed with the intention of landing on Earth’s neighbor planet. In fact, Musk’s urgency to travel to the Red Planet was on display in January when the billionaire tweeted his frustration over the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations regarding a Starship test flight: “Under those rules, humanity will never get to Mars.”
  • Everyday astronauts: Starship is not only intended for use in government space exploration. SpaceX in 2018 announced it signed wealthy Japanese art collector Yusaku Maezawa as the firm’s first private passenger for a 2023 trip around the moon in Starship. Space tourism is a nascent industry, with SpaceX conducting the first all-civilian launch later this year. However, private space flights via Starship could bring new growth to Central Florida’s economy, which is home to a $75 billion tourism sector and thriving aerospace industry.

The space industry is primed for rapid growth, according to investment bank Morgan Stanley, which predicts the sector will be worth $1 trillion by 2040. Space exploration is not limited to government and military use, and activities including tourism, mining and agriculture likely will pop up beyond Earth’s atmosphere, Jim Thomas of Orlando-based investment firm Kirenaga Partners previously told OBJ. Kirenaga last year invested in Space Perspective Inc., a space balloon operator based at Kennedy Space Center. “It’s like when we used to talk about the internet and what it would be, and nobody knew.”

Space already is a massive industry in Brevard County. The Space Coast is home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, common launchpads for SpaceX and United Launch Alliance’s rockets. Plus, Chicago-based Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) has its space and launch division headquartered in Titusville. In addition, Blue Origin operates a 750,000-square-foot rocket manufacturing facility on Merritt Island, and Lockheed Martin is building its Orion spacecraft, which is intended to take humans to the moon, at Kennedy Space Center.

This news was originally published at Biz Journals.

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